Dartmouth Public Schools
Dr. Bonny Gifford
During February I attended the AASA National Superintendents’ conference in Nashville. What had been a highly anticipated affair turned into a difficult 3 days as I, along with my colleagues, became preoccupied with the horrific Florida tragedy. Listening to keynote speakers soon felt less important as my I couldn’t stop thinking about the Broward County community that had been traumatized by a senseless and unimaginable shooting and about our own community that would certainly be shaken and anxious. Since that day, everyone has weighed in regarding policies, practices, laws and politics that shape school protocols relative to keeping educational communities safe and secure. Undoubtedly this conversation will continue for a very long time. With this in mind, I wanted to take this time to emphasize our commitment to ensuring a safe learning environment for staff and students alike.
At times like these, we need to draw strength from each other. As professional educators, we dedicate our lives to caring for and being a role model to young people. I firmly believe we can use our relationships with our students to help them channel their emotions and sometimes feelings of helplessness into positive action. If there was ever a moment in time that our students needed us, it is now. We must remain relentlessly focused on fostering a culture that ensures students feel connected, cared for and listened to. In reading a colleague’s letter to his community, I was reminded of a book entitled Culture, Every Student. Every Day. Whatever Takes. In his book, Jimmy Casas provides guidance on how to become advocates for students, create communities of excellence, nurture positive energy and maximize our potential through connections with educators around the globe.
A main tenet of Casas’ book is that leadership matters a lot. He reminds us leadership is not just the responsibility of those “in charge” but needs to be shared by all. At times like these I encourage all of us to take the lead in building and sustaining a culture of kindness and positivity. As Casas states: “Because of the demands placed on our profession, it can be easy to lose our sense of passion, our sense of purpose and our sense of pride. If (or when) this happens, we run the risk of going from mere management of the school culture to becoming a negative impact. We must remain vigilant that our words and deeds add to our school culture in a positive way rather than negate it.”
DMS Blended Learning Math Class
Teachers are always on the hunt to provided more opportunities for students! Two teachers provided more engaging learning experiences for students by taking advantage of grants.
Congratulations Mr. Mark Gaffney, DHS PE Lead Teacher/Instructional Coach
Mark applied for and received the soft-stick Equipment Grant from US Lacrosse! DHS now has new LAX sticks, balls and curriculum guide for our PE classes!
Congratulations to Mrs. Temple Mitchell, Instructional Technology Teacher at DMS
Temple applied for and received a Hess Grant!! This grant will give students students the opportunity to learn STEM concepts and engage in practical experiences that demonstrate how these concepts apply in the real world. Simple and Complex Machines, provide a powerful STEM learning experience for students and teachers.
Writing Standards in Action
DOE Looking for Feedback on NEW HSS Standards
Please take a minute to review and offer public comment on the current draft of the 2018 Public Comment Draft of the Massachusetts History and Social Science Curriculum Framework. DOE uses comments to inform additional revisions to the framework. The Department invites educators and members of the public to provide comments via the public survey. The Public Survey is open until April 2, 2018.
DMS Poetry Authors
Great Kindness Challenge
Potter School recently culminated their annual "Great Kindness Challenge" Week with a very special day known as "Wonder Wednesday." Recently our fifth graders tackled the themes in the book, Wonder by R.J. Palacio. The novel has many messages about the power of kindness. "Wonder Wednesday" gave the grade 5 students a chance to teach their younger classmates some powerful lessons through the themes of the book Wonder. In addition to "Wonder Wednesday", we had our "P to the 3 " Assembly celebrating all the "Catch Me At My Best" Coupons students have earned for positive behavioral choices! Our "Great Kindness Challenge" Week had special theme days, Crazy Sock Days, and even a blizzard of Kindness Snowflakes.
Cushman School Month of Kindness!
Dartmouth High School participated in an Awareness Week. This week was a culmination of three and a half months of training, planning, and meetings by a student group called the Game Changers.
This group was created by Mark Gaffney, Lead Techer of The Wellness Department at Dartmouth High School. He created the group after securing a grant from The Game Change Anti-Violence Prevention Program. This program was created three years ago as a partnership between the New England Patriots and The State of Massachusetts District Attorney’s Office. The purpose behind the program was to educate youth on the social issues of sexual abuse, sexual harassment, gender violence, homophobia, teen dating violence and domestic violence.
Mr. Gaffney was trained for three days in October by Northeasterns University Sport and Society Department. The professionals at Northeastern trained teachers, counselors, and other school personnel in the Mentors in Violence Prevention Program (MVP).
Mr. Gaffney opted for the student-led program and these trainers came to Dartmouth High School on November 8 and 9 for a training program. Twenty-three students were trained in the MVP curriculum.
The Game Changers created a week long program with various daily events.
Hearts with Statistics. During training students were given playbooks with statistics regarding sexual assault, rape, battery, domestic abuse, etc. Students cut out mini hearts and placed statistics in center. The purpose was to make students aware of how common these issues are and how often they happen.
Start the conversation day. Students watched a video and were asked to share experiences through social media platforms created by Game Changers.
Assembly Day. Ashley Bendiksen came to Dartmouth High School and presented her story about being a domestic abuse survivor. She presented to all students and was available after for any questions.
Scenario Day. Game Changers led student body thru scenarios related to social situations regarding subject matter related to their training. Students were divided by grade level and homerooms to create group discussion. Each group was supervised by a teacher, social worker or consultant.